Karl R. Barnickol

T: (312) 269-8047
F: (312) 980-0878

Karl Barnickol takes pride in providing practical litigation advice tailored to meet client-specific goals and counseling clients on best practices for business growth and litigation avoidance. His litigation practice focuses on defending complex mass tort and class action cases, including products and publisher liability matters, securities fraud and shareholder derivative litigation, and price-fixing and unfair competition claims. In particular, Karl has significant experience representing healthcare, technology, manufacturing, logistics, and content and media companies in complex cases. Karl also represents individual employees, officers, and directors in civil litigation or regulatory matters arising from their employment. He has achieved successful outcomes for clients in state and federal courts nationwide, both at the trial and appellate levels, including: 

  • Negotiating voluntary dismissals and settlements to end hundreds of mass tort claims challenging drug information relating to Reglan, Accutane, Zoloft, Prozac, and Januvia; 
  • Obtaining dismissal of three amended securities fraud complaints and four parallel derivative complaints filed against a company and its senior executives;
  • Successfully negotiating a class action settlement in a $1.6 billion health care fraud class action and defending the settlement against objections from class members in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit; and 
  • Obtaining a favorable allocation of costs on behalf of an oil company facing environmental claims following a four-week bench trial.

Outside the courtroom, Karl helps businesses profit by identifying opportunities for cost reduction and revenue growth in relationships with business partners and customers. He negotiates and drafts agreements, including technology licenses, sponsorships, concessions and subscriptions. He also develops marketing and sales training materials, internal policy documents, and customer disclosures that drive continuous process improvement and mitigate litigation risk. Karl has helped healthcare technology companies, retailers, and professional sports franchises avoid price-fixing, lending and deceptive practices, and personal injury claims.

Representative experience includes:

  • Developing standardized license terms and user terms and conditions for a technology roll-up to end serial litigation;
  • Implementing revised sales terms for a retailer to enhance truth-in-lending and antitrust compliance; and
  • Drafting sponsorship, concession, and ticketing agreements for Major League Baseball franchises.

Karl has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2008 for both Corporate Law and Securities Litigation, and has been recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer since 2016. He is also ranked in Benchmark Litigation as a Future Star and was listed as a Rising Star by Illinois Super Lawyers from 2008 to 2010.

While in law school at Washington University in St. Louis, Karl was a member of the Order of the Coif and the Washington University Law Review.


  • Washington University in St. Louis School of Law (J.D., 1997)
  • Georgetown University (A.B., 1994), cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois
  • Missouri
  • Pennsylvania

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First District
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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